On Buttons That Move

If you’ve started testing a call to action that wiggles every few seconds to grab people’s attention, then you’re looking at the problem wrong.

Sure, people’s eyes are attracted to movement, but if you have to use gimmicks to get conversions then your offer probably sucks.

Provide more value, and then tell people about it. No amount of gimmicks, tricks, NLP or javascript can save a bad offer.

~E

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Reaching Perfection

The amount of effort that it takes to reach a passable grade is small.

If you were to say that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something, it would only take 1000 hours to be decent at it.

After those 1000 hours people will probably notice your new skill. They’ll say “Wow, you’re good at that” because you’re better than most at it. But that doesn’t make you an expert.

It’s the other 9000 hours of work, the thankless blood sweat and tears work, the work that will go unnoticed, that will get you to a world class level.

If you were to graph it out, it would look something like this:

effort-skill

You can see that as you rise in skill level, the amount of effort required to get you to the next level increases exponentially.

The middle of this curve is what Seth Godin calls the dip. It’s a place where the momentum starts to wane, and your rate of improvement starts to slow.

If you start going to the gym you’ll notice results right away, but to keep seeing results you need to increase your effort level. This is the point that most gym goers drop off.

If you learn how to write sales copy you will quickly become better than 95% of the population at this skill. People will congratulate you on your efforts, but it will take 10x more work to become an expert.

Getting through the dip is difficult, but worth it. Once you’re past it however, what’s next?

Reaching perfection

The other thing to notice is that the curve will never reach perfection. This curve is an asymptote. The curve will never reach the end because the closer it gets, the slower it becomes.

This is ok because perfection should not be the goal. Instead, the goal becomes finding small ways to improve despite the monumental effort required to do so.

~E

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Why I’m not freaking out about Aweber going down

Aweber.com is down right now, apparently because of a DDOS attack.

This can have a huge impact on your online business if you use them for your email marketing. After all, if you’re running SEO, social media and PPC campaigns to your landing pages right now, you visitors will not be able to opt-in.

They’re hooped.

And that’s enough to make any digital marketing team cringe.

But here’s why I’m not: redundancy.

If you’ve simply set up your website to send information directly to Aweber then, my friend, you’re building on borrowed land. And that’s a mistake.

Here’s the work around, which will make sure that you never again lose an email subscriber due to an outage.

Step 1: Send the form information to a database first

Instead of sending the opt-in information of your subscribers directly to Aweber, instead send that information to a mysql database on your own server. This information is yours now, make sure you don’t lose it.

Step 2: Setup a script on your server to send the information to Aweber

The next step is to send the info to Aweber. You can set up a cron job on your server to check for new subscribers, and if they exist, send them over to Aweber.

Step 3: If sending the information fails, don’t erase the subscriber information!

Have your script check to see if the subscriber information is being received by Aweber. If it is, erase the information from your database to clean it up. If it has NOT been received (as it would be today seeing as Aweber is down) then have the script do nothing, and check again a minute later.

Here’s what this process looks like:

aweber-fix

Other things to consider

Of course, there are some thing that Aweber’s forms add to your site that you will have to build into your new system. Things such as form validation, allowing only one submission, and disabling the form for multiple consecutive submits from the same IP address (for security).

But as long as you follow some basic web form guidelines you’ll be just fine.

Bottom Line

Make sure you protect yourself! Don’t ever rely entirely on someone else’s site for your business operations. Protect your data, and your audience.

At the end of the day you can apologize for an email that gets sent out a day late, but if you’re spending cold hard cash on advertising and promotion, then you need to make sure you make the most of that traffic.

Let me know if you have questions in the comments below.

~E

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Shortcuts

If you want to lose weight, you can’t do so quickly. It doesn’t matter if you train super hard for 24 hour straight, you will not see results (in fact, you might die). Results come from doing steady work, week after week, over time.

The same goes for playing guitar. Even if you practice for 24 hours straight you’ll simply end up with cut fingers, not the skill that is required to play. It’s far more valuable to play for 30 minutes every day for 48 days.

Most things that matter don’t have shortcuts.They take time and dedication. They take stamina.

It’s the companies that focus on steady work that are successful. Work that lasts. Work that is high quality. And work that takes time to create.

Create a culture of steady improvements and your company will always be greater than it was yesterday, last week, or last year.

Focus on the flash in the pan, the flashy idea or the shortcut and you will not create sustainable growth.

~E

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You’re looking at the problem wrong

Let’s talk more about problem solving.

The reason that effective problem solving is so difficult, is that we’re trained to focus on the immediate problem instead of looking at the bigger picture.

Let’s take a look at this problem:

A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

What most people will say is that the ball costs $0.10.

That would be wrong.

The ball actually costs $0.05 because the bat costs $1.00 MORE than the ball. That means that the bat actually costs $1.05.

Does answering this question with $0.10 make you stupid? No. It means you’ve been trained to jump to conclusions before thinking about what the real problem is. This training saves time, and in a lot of cases, serves us well.

But with business or marketing problems it shoots us in the foot. It hinders our ability to look at the problem critically, and come up with solutions that don’t just patch the problem, but blow it out of the park.

Here’s an example:

A coffee machine company wants to make their machines more convenient and easier to use. They put their team on the task of producing a better coffee machine. Making it easier to use. Maybe the machine even grinds the coffee for you.

It’s more convenient. But is it easier to use? It’s also now more complicated, with more parts to service and more things to go wrong.

A similar company wants to accomplish the same thing. But instead of focusing solely on the immediate problem (the machine), they think about how they can CHANGE the problem altogether.

Instead of making their machine do more things, they look at the outside components that go into the problem… the coffee.

“How do we make coffee more convenient?” instead of “How do we make our machine more convenient?”

The answer, at least for one company, is to pre-package it.

This is exactly what Nespresso did. Instead of over complicating the problem, they looked at other ways of accomplishing the same thing. In turn they created a revolution in home coffee brewing spawning copy after copy.

How this applies to you

Instead of focusing on the immediate cause of your problem, work backwards. What other factors are involved? Can you change something outside of your product that could make your product more special? More remarkable?

Test it. See if it works.

~E

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Where are the problem solvers?

One of the biggest things I look for when hiring new people is problem solving skills.

If you’re highly skilled in your field but you don’t know how to solve problems, what good are you to my team?

I can teach most competent people to follow a map. That’s not difficult.

But solving problems creatively, that has value.

This is why so many companies have mediocre marketing. Marketing that fades into the background. Into the static.

The marketers working for them don’t solve marketing problems, they try to apply their map to the problem and hope that it works.

Most times it doesn’t.

Instead of reading all you can about how others have solved similar problems in the past, maybe we should focus on coming up with a new solution. Coming up with something bold. Something that others haven’t tried because they’re too scared.

And then test the hell out of it.

It might not work, but I’m sure it won’t be mediocre.

~E

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How do you build a house?

How would you go about building yourself a house?

Would you go and sit in the forest and THINK about building it? Would you say to yourself, “maybe if I just focus my attention on a house, the universe will provide one for me”?

Of course not. That’s silly.

Then why do we buy into the idea that business success is all about mindset instead of action?

Sure, you need the right mindset to make your action work more effectively.

But it’s the action that does the work, not the wishing, and certainly not the million-dollar-this-is-it ideas.

Nor do you build a house by starting with the roof. You don’t get to skip the hard work of building a foundation just because you think you can.

The foundation is what makes the house strong.

You build a house from the bottom. Board by board. Nail by nail. Until you reach the point at which you can build the roof.

Focus on the hard work. The work that really matters. And then launch it.

Sure, it might fail. But then you get the opportunity to learn, to adapt and to re-launch.

It’s how great ideas, great careers and great companies are built.

~E

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Keep it simple… stupid

It’s Valentines day. Are you KISSing your products? Are you KISSing your landing pages? Are you KISSing your staff?

I don’t mean literally of course. I mean are you keeping things simple, or are you trying to add complexity?

Anyone can create something that is complicated. It’s easy to just add more shit to solve a problem.

But solving a problem with simplicity is hard. That’s why it’s so rare.

Sometimes it’s difficult to put a lot of time an effort into something that is going to be very simple. People will look at it and say: “That’s it?”

People will tell you that you wasted your time creating something so simple. If it really took you 2 years to complete this project, why isn’t there more to it?

This pressure can cause us to add complexity just to make something seem more substantial. But it’s not necessary.

The Frisbee was difficult to create the first time. Once it was perfected it became simple. The only way to improve on the Frisbee now is to make it more complicated.

That’s what happens when you create something new.

But the flip side is this. If you spend your time and energy on simplicity it may take longer. But the results will be more scalable.

Your landing pages and sales funnels will perform better because they’re easier to understand. Plus they’ll be easier to test, update and maintain.

Your products will be understood by the marketplace which will boost your sales. Yes, you will have copy cats, but more than likely they will produce complicated copies that aren’t remarkable.

Your staff will also thank you because you’re setting them free. Free of red tape and bureaucratic nonsense. Free of the cringe worthy political landscape of the common office.

And they will perform better.

Take the extra time. Keep it simple…

Stupid.

~E

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Because that’s what people do…

I was asked recently if it was customary to respond to a twitter follow by following that person back.

My answer was no.

But the question has stayed with me. Mostly because it’s looking at the problem the wrong way.

Do you take action in your business because it’s customary? Because that’s what other companies are doing?

A whole generation of marketers propagate a tradition of bad marketing messages and spam-like tactics because that’s what they see others doing.

A better question to ask is: How can I add value to my audience?

Passing your decisions through this filter will produce much better results than looking at what others are doing, and it’s a sustainable and more importantly SCALABLE solution.

Does automatically following twitter followers add any value to them? Nope.

Is sending email marketing messages that don’t promote a connection and instead just include a bad sales pitch add value? Nope.

Does creating a landing page that tells everyone you’re “#1” without explaining the benefits of your product or service add value? Nope.

When you boil down the marketing tactics that work. The ones that are evergreen and produce real results. They are adding value to their audience… not just regurgitating custom.

Produce value for your audience and you will produce raging fans.

Do what’s customary and you will be forgotten

~E

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On Momentum

It requires much less energy to keep a ball rolling than it does to get it started…

It requires much less energy to write the last 500 words than it does to write the FIRST 500 words…

It requires much less energy to get a visitor to share your story when they’ve already signed up or opted in, versus cold traffic that has not taken any action…

It requires much less energy to keep a customer happy than to make a customer happy…

Momentum is important, and it’s important to recognize when you have it.

If you have momentum, take advantage of it. Squeeze the most that you can out of it. Create value.

That way you can leverage your momentum into even more action.

~E

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